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What is a Medium Voltage Cable?

Aug 24, 2023 | Technical Literature | 0 comments

Power Plant


Medium voltage cables have a voltage range from 6 kV to 33 kV. They are primarily produced as part of power generation and distribution networks and are used in many applications such as utilities, petrochemical, transportation, wastewater treatment, food processing, commercial and industrial markets.

Typically, they are widely used in systems with a voltage range up to 36kV and play an integral role in power generation and distribution networks.

MV Cable
LV Cable


As the global demand for medium voltage cables continues to grow, compliance with industry standards is becoming increasingly important.

The most important criteria for medium voltage cables are:

  • IEC 60502-2: The world’s most commonly used medium voltage cable, with rated voltages up to 36 kV, with a wider range of designs and tests, including single-core and multi-core cables; armored and unarmoured cables, including two types of armored “tape and electric wire”.
  • IEC/EN 60754: Designed to assess the content of halogenated acid gases, it aims to determine the amount of acid gas released when insulating materials, sheathing and other materials are ignited.
  • IEC/EN 60332: In the event of a fire, the spread of flame over the entire length of the cable is measured.
  • IEC/EN 61034: Specifies the test for determining the smoke density of burning cables under specified conditions.
  • BS 6622: Covers cables for rated voltages up to 36 kV. It covers design and testing, including single and multicore cables; armored only cables, steel wire armored types and PVC sheathed cables.
  • BS 7835: Covers cables for rated voltages up to 36 kV. It covers the scope of design and testing, including single-core, multi-core cables, armored cables only, and armored LSZH cables only.
  • BS 7870: is a series of very important standards for low and medium voltage polymer insulated cables used by electricity generation and distribution companies.

Structure and material

Medium voltage cable designs can be of different sizes and types. The structure is much more complex than that of low-voltage cables.

The difference between medium voltage cables and low voltage cables is not only how the cables are constructed, but also the manufacturing process and raw materials used.

In medium voltage cables the insulation process is quite different from that of low voltage cables, in fact:

  • Medium voltage cables consist of three layers instead of one – conductor shield, insulating material, insulating shield.
  • The medium voltage insulation process is realized by using CCV lines instead of conventional horizontal extruders (e.g. for low voltage cables).
  • Although the name of the insulating material is the same as for low voltage cables (eg XLPE), the raw material itself is different to ensure a purer insulating material. Low-voltage cables are prohibited from using color masterbatch for core identification.
  • Metallic shields are commonly used in the construction of medium voltage cables and are specialized for application-specific low voltage cables.
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